“Under the health-care plan Xochitl Torres Small supports, employer-based health coverage would be eliminated, forcing everyone into a massive government-run system, putting Washington bureaucrats in charge.”
With a sick child on the couch, holding a teddy bear, a mother calls to make a doctor’s appointment. She pulls out her health-insurance card and then with her voice breaking, says: “What do you mean you don’t take that anymore? But it’s through my work.”
The ad, via the National Republican Campaign Committee, concludes by claiming the Democratic candidate, Xochitl Torres Small, “takes from us to give it all to Washington.”
The ad is designed to frighten even as it poses logical absurdity: What mother is not going to realize that the nation’s health-care system had completely changed since she last called the doctor?
But there’s an even bigger absurdity: Torres Small is being attacked for supporting a “plan” that she does not even support.
So it goes in this year’s cycle of attack ads. With a numbing similarity, ads produced by the NRCC, the Congressional Leadership Fund (affiliated with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan) and individual Republican candidates all charge Democrats with supporting a universal health-care plan backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — even if the Democrats are not supporters of the Sanders plan.
We found at least 15 candidates attacked this way in recent weeks, but surely we missed many — and more ads are sure to come. Let’s take a look.
In the case of Torres Small, the ad cites an interview with the Las Cruces Sun News in which she said she was “open to pursuing all pathways” to provide access to affordable health care. The ad turned that anodyne statement into backing a “total government takeover of healthcare.”
The NRCC also pointed to the fact that Torres Small did not answer yes or no when asked if she favored a single-payer health system. But Torres Small spokesman Brian Sowyrda told The Fact Checker: “Xochitl is committed to fixing the ACA, lowering healthcare costs, improving accessibility for rural areas and protecting Medicare, but at this time she does not support Medicare-for-all.”